Story by Chris Graham
The pundits want to paint Virginia blue, or at the least purple. Creigh Deeds isn’t convinced that a new crayola is necessary just yet.
“People that say that Virginia is blue, or Virginia is purple, haven’t spent too much time campaigning in Augusta County. You know what I’m saying? Or Rockingham. Or Shenandoah. Or Frederick. Or Warren. Or Fauquier. Or Stafford. Or Mecklenberg or Lunenberg. Or Grayson. Or Wythe. Or Smyth. Or even Prince William. We have a lot of work to do,” the Bath County state senator and 2009 Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination candidate told an audience of local Democrats in Staunton on Saturday.
He sounded more like a man running for the Senate or president the way he was talking national politics, but it is a federal election year. And Virginia Democrats are thinking that they have a real shot of winning the Commonwealth for the first time since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
“We’ve been through seven and a half years of seeing our world come untangled, our position in the world come unglued,” Deeds said at a breakfast event sponsored by the Augusta County Democratic Committee.
“This situation in Iraq is symptomatic – it’s not the whole problem, it’s symptomatic of where we are in the world. This nation’s inability to respond to a disaster of Katrina’s proportions that saw the destruction basically of one of our grandest cities. The continuing budget and trade deficits that are causing our economy to come unglued. We have to do better,” Deeds said.
Deeds spent about 20 minutes addressing local Dems on issues arising out of the 2008 Virginia General Assembly session, including discussions around the 2008-2010 state budget, the ongoing dilemma involving transportation funding and payday-lending reforms.
He talked with reporters afterward about his gubernatorial campaign, which he got under way in December, nearly two years before the November 2009 election.
“I’m a guy from Bath County. I don’t have a real population base. I need every edge I can get. December – I needed people to know early what my intentions were. I don’t think there was any downside to announcing so early,” Deeds said.
“A whole lot of a campaign like that is just raising money, and you can’t raise money during the session. So to a certain extent, it’s almost a vacation during the legislative session to not have to be on the money trail, the constant money trail. Well, the session was over the night before last, and I’m back on the trail. I’m out there all the time. And I’m committed to being elected the next governor, and that’s a process that has me on the go all the time,” Deeds said.